So you’re an American in London. Even though you’re fluent in the national language, it can still be easy to feel disconnected or homesick.
Thus, tripatlas.com/new has put together a survival guide for Americans who are travelling, living, or working in London, England.
A survival guide for an American in London, England
1) Where to go to find other Americans in London?
tripatlas.com/new’s contributor, Steven Wong, who lived in London for about five years, suggests Sports Cafe (www.thesportscafe.com) for a great place to find other Americans in London. “This two-storey institution near Trafalgar Square serves as the de facto place to go for your fix of American sports. They show a lot of college sports in addition to the usual fare of football, er, soccer and rugby. Rub elbows with fellow expats and don’t forget about wing night!”
Likewise, Steve suggests joining the Greater London Softball Mixed League (www.baseballsoftballuk.com) taking place in venues around London. Here, you can “keep your swing in tune by joining a team in the GLSML, and meet various expats from the US and Canada and the occasional Brit. If you’re in a specific industry, like advertising or banking, ask around about the corporate leagues that also play in Regent’s Park during the summer.”
“For Canadians, the Maple Leaf Bar in Covent Gardens is a great place to celebrate Canada Day,” says tripatlas.com/new’s Jeremy, from experience.
2) What areas of London will feel most like home for Americans?
“Dulwich Village. Unless you’re from New York, not a lot about London is all that similar to places in America, but if you decide to venture into the decidedly rather inaccessible area of Dulwich Village and East Dulwich, you’ll be treated to what looks a lot like your local suburb. Wide tree-lined avenues, big houses and street side plazas will make you feel at home, if only temporarily.”
Many Americans choose to live in Kensington, Notting Hill, or Chelsea, where there are lots of other great Americans to get to know. You can connect with other American expats in London via ExpatExchange.com’s UK Forum.
3) Areas of London that Americans should be careful of
“There’s no place that specifically Americans should avoid, just places in general that are more unpleasant than others. Some will be put off by places like Hackney, Peckham, Brixton or Barking, but it just depends on whether you like that edginess or not – and your ability to blend into the background,” cautions Steve.
Jeremy, who lived in London for several months adds, “The area around Kings Cross Station can be a little dodgy. Watch for pickpockets and thieves in train stations. As the English like to drink, crowds of drunk people on trains late at night or before and during soccer games should be avoided. Otherwise, basic big city common sense rules apply.”
4) Where to find American-style comfort food
Sick of the fish and chips and want some home-style food? Steve suggests Bodean’s (www.bodeansbbq.com). “Drop into your nearest Bodean’s to sample their very amenable version of pulled pork and BBQ ribs. It can get pretty messy but it’s, if you’ll pardon the plagiarism, ‘finger-lickin’ good.’ The Soho location is especially popular with American exchange students catching March Madness.”
“There’s always fast food,” says Jeremy to those Americans looking for American-style food. “Pizza Hut, McDonalds (or rather, Mac-Donalds), KFC, and Burger King are popular.”
Alice, an American in London, who has been living in London since 2005 blogs often about her experiences and where to dine in London: rwapplewannabe.wordpress.com .
5) Cultural British quirks to be aware of in London
“Besides the fact that French fries are called ‘chips’?” asks Jeremy.
“British sense of humour can be very dry, backhanded or sarcastic. ‘Taking the piss’ or ‘taking the mick’ are common phrases. It is playful, sometimes mean-spirited teasing. A stranger at a bar could come up to you and make a witty, possibly rude comment. Don’t freak out. Laugh and think of something clever to say back (unless they seem really drunk and are in fact, idiots).”
For the latest news for Americans in London, go to: www.usembassy.org.uk.
Looking to plan a trip London or the UK? Check out the tripatlas.com/new Trip Builder where you can talk to travel agents who will help you plan your trip.